5 Ways to Get a Gorgeous Wedding Dress for Under $500

Bride on a budget? No problem. You don’t have to settle just because you don’t want to spend thousands on a dress you will wear for a total of 6 hours. I truly believe you can have a fashion-forward and unique dress of your dreams even with a smaller budget. All you need is a little creativity and an eye for a bargain.

As a Mormon, I also need my dress to be modest, but if you don’t have modesty constraints, then you’ll probably have even more options for creativity.

1. Bridesmaid Dress

No one says that the only kind of wedding dress you can have is one that says “wedding” on the label. There are tons of beautiful bridesmaid dresses out there, and most of them come in dozens of colors, including ivory and white.

As you can see from the picture above, the dress on the right is $109 while the dress on the left costs over $700 because the one on the left has the label of “wedding dress”. Bridesmaid dresses run anywhere from $50 – $300, so even if you opt for a high-end bridesmaid dress, you’re still way ahead on your budget

Where to Buy

2. Evening Gown

Much like the bridesmaid option, you can also don a stunning evening gown for a fraction of the cost. You can go try going to your local department store like JCPenny or Dillards, but they often don’t carry their evening gowns in white in the store. Search online to find out if the dress you love is available in white.

JCPenny $99

$74 Buy One by Eight Sleeveless Beaded Formal Gown at JCPenney.com today and Get Your Penney's Worth. Free shipping available

New York Dress $450

$450 Jessica Angel 325

Also try searching prom dress sites. Yes, you’re no longer in high school, but you’d be surprised how many beautiful white dresses you can find.

Simply Dresses $169

$249  Shop SimplyDresses for cap sleeve lace embellished prom dresses and cap sleeve gowns with lace. Cap sleeve V-neck floor length dresses for prom.

PromGirl $99

$149  I like Style DQ-9182w from PromGirl.com, do you like?

Where to Buy

3. Separates

$176 *** Custom order skirt, made with your own measurement and color choice. Feel free to ask If you need another color.  Chiffon wedding skirt fully lined with flowy soft satin, floor length 42. Invisible zipper on center back, waistband wide 1,5.  Skirt length can be made longer or shorter$56 Best is Yet to Come White Backless Dress 2

In the last few years, there has been a huge surge in the popularity of doing separates so that you have the ability to mix and match your skirt and bodice. With this comes additional flexibility to find options in your budget. While the separates you find in bridal stores are still going to be really expensive, you can find a lot of options on Etsy.

Go on Etsy, spend a few hundred dollars on a skirt like this, and then pair it with a stylish, but inexpensive top like this and, voila! You have yourself a beautiful but affordable wedding dress.

Where to Buy

4. Accessories

Now you may be thinking, “accessories aren’t dresses,” and yes this is true. Think of accessories as an affordable way to really take a seemingly simple dress up to a whole new level. And I’m not talking about a really cute necklace or a sparkly belt. I’m talking about Accessories with a capital “A.”


David’s Bridal $249

If you have a simple white dress with no train, compensate with a completely dramatic cathedral-length veil. It will add instant drama and complete the “bridal” look.


$129 Slip this gorgeously beaded mesh topper over your strapless or spaghetti-strap wedding dress for a bit of custom coverage.   Polyester  Hook-and-eye closure  Dry clean  Imported

David’s Bridal $129

I’m currently obsessed with capelets. They’re an incredibly elegant way to add sophistication and glamour to a simple dress.  If you love glitter and sparkle, capelets are a great option. However, there are also lots of lace or chiffon options. Just check out etsy, amazon, and the like.


$398 Why We Love It: Our Seville Cape is a truly dramatic, yet simple, finish to your bridal look. Unadorned and just perfectly draped, this cape is an awesome, modern alternative to a veil.  How We Wear It: We love this cape with a long and simple gown, such as our Crete Gown. Add in

Etsy $398

Now if a capelet isn’t quite extra enough for you, then you can up the drama with a full-on cape. It adds a certain element of fantasy, whimsy, and glamour. If your dress is simple, or doesn’t have a train, a cape can add both ornamentation and a train. It’s a bonus if you’re Mormon and you’re looking for an easy way to make your dress modest. A cape covering the shoulders is a very stylish way to obscure modesty alterations.

Body Jewelry

$179 Hello And Welcome!    We Sincerely Appreciate You for taking the time to look around.     Luxury Bridal Rhinestone Body Jewelry Applique. Wonderful with your dress.    What an amazing look on your special day.  Everyone will be amazed!!!!! What a lovely touch. Hand Made  We can add some

Etsy $179

If you have purchased a very simple dress on a budget, some body jewelry can really up the extra factor instantly. If you purchased a $99 dress on sale, and then added some really elaborate body jewelry for $179, you have an absolutely gorgeous dress for $278 with plenty of room in the budget for a nice veil and other accessories.


Etsy $90

Ok, so this might overlap a little bit with the Bridal Separates category, but this is an additional layer to your skirt that can really help make a regular white dress feel bridal. If you have a simple dress (or even a temple dress) that you want to turn into a wedding dress, you can simply throw this overskirt on top, and you’ve instantly turned your look bridal, complete with a full chapel-length train.

5. Budget-conscious Bridal Companies

$425 modest wedding dresses Stapleton

If you feel really strongly about going to a traditional bridal boutique to select your dream dress, there are still options! Not all bridal stores sell their dresses for thousands of dollars. David’s Bridal, for example has 472 wedding dresses under $500. Gateway Bridal also has many dresses for under $500 that are both contemporary and modest.

Do not try to buy your wedding dress from a sketchy website in China. It will take a long time and will most likely not result in the dress that was pictured on the website.

Where to Buy


Well there you have it, 5 ways to get your started on your journey for finding your dream dress under $500. There’s no reason you should have to compromise on style just because you’re being smart with your budget.


Mesoamerican Treat: Preztel Macuahuitl

Ever wanted to learn how to make an edible Mesoamerican sword? I’m sure it’s on the top of your bucket list. Well, for my nerdy soulmate out there who’s always wanted to craft treats of ancient civilizations, I’m posting a tutorial!

A macuahuitl (pronounced ma-KWA-weet) is an ancient Mayan weapon used in battle. It was the Mesoamerican equivalent of a sword, but instead of being a thrusting weapon, it was primarily a slashing one. It was typically made of wood, and edged with obsidian blades

Image result for macuahuitl

For us westerners, the idea of a wooden sword doesn’t sound that fearsome. We’re used to sharpened and polished steel-bladed swords. However, these bad boys can really do a number. When wielded by fierce warriors, they could easily hack off human limbs.

Today, we’re going to make an edible equivalent aka preztels with chocolate chips.

It’s a super easy treat to make and is a real crowd-pleaser for Mesoamerican-themed parties!



  • Serving Size: 20 macuahuitls
  • Time: 1 hour


  • 1 package of pretzel rods (I used Snyder’s)
  • 1 package of chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)


1. Gather your ingredients

I included peanut butter in this picture because you can use peanut butter as the glue instead of melted chocolate chips, but I opted for the melted chips this time.


2. Lay out your pretzel rods on a cookie sheet or flat surface with wax paper

You’ll want the wax paper because it can get messy and once the “glue” sets, it’s easier to remove the sticks from wax paper than a normal plate.


3. Prep your glue

In my case, I used chocolate chips. Take a small handfull (1/4 cup is more than enough) of chocolate chips, and melt them in a small bowl in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Stir the chips all together until they become a viscous liquid.


4. Start gluing chocolate chips to the sides of each pretzel

Take a tiny dollop of the melted chocolate, and dab it on the bottom of a chocolate chip. Press the chocolate chip to the pretzel, and make sure it’s secure enough so it won’t just fall off.


Repeat this with 3-4 chocolate chips down 1 side of the pretzel


5. Repeat on the other side of the pretzel


6. Freeze

Once you have about 5-10 pretzels made, throw those succors into the freezer on a wax-papered cookie sheet. They only need to be in there for about 5 minutes for the chocolate to solidify and seal the chocolate chips to the pretzel. You can work on the next set of pretzels while the first batch freezes

7. Ta-Da!

That’s it you’re done! You can display your new macuahuitls on a platter, or stick them in some floral foam for a fun display. Have fun slashing human arms with these cool edible mesoamerican swords!




Soap Carving

Today I decided it would be a fun idea to try some soap carving. This is a great activity to do with your kids. I don’t have any kids. I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a single good excuse for wanting to try soap carving. But I don’t need an excuse. I soap carved. It was great. I made a fish.

You want to know how to soap carve? It’s really pretty easy, and super fun. If you’ve never done carving or whittling before, soap is a great medium to start on because it’s soft, malleable, and forgiving. You really don’t need any fancy knives; soap is soft enough that you can even use plastic knives!


  • Bar of Soap
    • Ivory is a great brand to use – soft and cheap
  • Knife
    • Could be plastic knife or butter knife. I used a metal butter knife
  • X-acto Knife
    • This one is optional for basic patterns. I used the X-acto Knife at the end for some detail work
  • Paper for carving pattern
  • Pencil, toothpick, or pointy object for tracing on to the soap
  • Scissors for cutting out the patter

That’s it! I already had all these materials at my house. The only thing I had to purchase was the X-acto knife, and I quickly discovered that it was pretty optional.


Step 1

Cut out and trace the pattern

You can print out a free, downloadable pattern that I created here.

fish-pattern printable PDF


However, if you don’t want to use a pre-made template, that’s totally fine, just draw your own!

You’ll just want to make sure that your pattern matches the dimensions of your soap bar, and that you account for not only the top of the bar, but the shape of the sides as well.

The dimensions of the Ivory bar I used were 3.1875″ x 2.125″ x 1″


Step 2

Once you have your pattern either drawn or printed out, cut it out, and lay it ontop of your unwrapped soap bar. Take your pencil or toothpick and trace the outline of your pattern onto the soap. It does actually mark the soap, it just creates inscribed lines.


Step 3

Now comes the fun part. With your pattern laid out on your soap bar, you are all set to start carving!


With your knife, start carving along the outline you drew. It doesn’t have to be super precise, as you’ll be refining the cut a lot more later. Just get the basic outline chiseled out of the block. Remember when it comes to carving, less is more. You can’t exactly add soap back on to the block once you chop it off, so be conservative in your chiseling at first.

Step 4

Once your basic shape has emerged from the block you can proceed with the refining of your shape. This is the part that takes the most patience and skill. Thankfully, soap is a really easy medium for beginners, but it still takes a lot of time and precision to slowly work away at the rough edges to create something smooth and more realistic.

And now behold, the final creation:20170609_204614